Saturday, 2 July 2022

[MPOV] The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.87/5
Published: April 4th, 2013
Author: Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Genre: crime fiction
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
The Cuckoo's Calling reminded me of an old 60's TV series namely The Avengers' John Steed with Mrs. Emma Peel. I've always enjoyed that TV series when I was young hence it's memorable even though I can't recall the episodes now LOL! Mixed with a little bit of Agatha Christie's and here we have Cormoran Strike, a private investigator.

This book is the first of a detective series, about a private investigator who was hired to investigate the death of a supermodel. The circumstances on how she died was baffling as she did not seemed suicidal to jump down a building although the police has concluded it as suicide. Armed with all his tactical knowledge and skills, Cormoran Strike sets off to find out the truth.

I have enjoyed the detailed tell tale of this book, on how the plots twist and turn, building up the excitement. However, after a while, I have slowly felt it was a tad too slow and tend to be a little long-winded. The plot building was being elaborated so much so that I didn't feel the nail biting effect. I just wanted to know who did it in the end. I'm happy that my guess was correct though...

I am a Rowling fan and thoroughly loved the Harry Potter series. However, I'm not really into this Cormoran Strike one, maybe there are many other crime fiction which are much better. Overall, it was entertaining for me to finish it but not enticing enough for me to read the rest of the series. This detective series has also been adapted into TV so likely I'll watch it instead :-)

Thursday, 23 June 2022

[MPOV] Embracing Darkness (Key series: short story 1.5)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.04/5
Published: October 31st, 2014
Author: Yelena Casale, Tina Moss
Genre: Paranormal romance
After a hellish ordeal suffered at the hands of evil, Zoey wants only to live a normal human life. Yet, demons haunt her every step and a power grows inside her that she does not understand and cannot control. If she is to win her life back, she’ll need to trust in a fallen with a hidden agenda.

Rafe’s war with the hellspawn of Las Vegas has dragged on for centuries. He needs an edge to take out the demon boss once and for all. The girl may be the answer, but to gain her trust, he’ll have to use all of his powers of seduction and stop at nothing to win her heart…even if it means losing his own.

Now, as the stakes rise, Zoey and Rafe must put their faith in each other to heal the wounds of the past and overcome the challenges in the present. Only by discovering their strength together can they find peace, not by running from the night, but by embracing darkness.
Thanks to City Owl Press for this free copy. I'm happy that I finished it in one seating since it's less than 50 pages LOL! Though it's only a short story, I don't feel at a lost and it sure entices me to continue the rest of the Key series! A very smart move indeed! I don't really go for paranormals but I might look for the rest of this series when I'm not as tied up :-)

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

[MPOV] The Crooked Little Pieces: Volume 1


My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.5/5
Published: May 25th, 2022
Author: Sophia Lambton
Genre: Family fiction, drama, saga
Lost are the creatures destined never to be understood.

1926. Professor Josef van der Holt obtains a post at an all women’s college overseas. Stuffy London suddenly becomes the site for the unseemly exploits of his half-Dutch and half-German daughters Anneliese and Isabel. When tragedy carves out a hollow in their lives, an ailing soul sends the sororal twins along a jagged path: while Isabel takes flight in sensual hedonism Anneliese skirts danger in her role as sleuth. Elusive are the sentiments they seek: swift stopovers of fleeting feeling. Seditious loves and passions scarcely probable veer each away from the predictable.

And when the obvious appears unstoppable the opposite may achingly be true.

Spanning the twentieth century’s five most volatile decades, The Crooked Little Pieces is a series about inextricable entanglements. Perverse relationships pervade a glossary of scenes. Plots criss-cross over a rich tapestry of twists and tension-fuelling characters: some relatable, others opaque and many “crooked”.

It is television drama. Novelised.
A heartfelt thank you to the author for this e-ARC in return for my honest review. I have not read a family saga in ages. When I first saw it, I thought it's a thriller due to it's title. As I gradually read on, it was explained in the novel, the meaning of this title. Somehow, this one reminded me of Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance, though different in plot aspects. 

The Crooked Little Pieces is about 2 girls, twins who were born a week apart. It tells the story about their struggle after their father passed away and the gap between their relationship... their sisterhood. Both characters are a total opposite and as they grew older with different expectations in life, they slowly became closer. As this is volume 1, it ended with the war :-)

I've enjoyed how it was written and I did find it engaging though some may find it slow. It fits my reading mood nowadays and I was curious of Anneliese's friendship with the psychiatrist who sort of shaped her future. Also, when it ended, I wonder about Isabel's relationship with her sadistic husband. Both sisters are talented in their own ways but their vulnerability is what shaped them eventually. I do wonder what happens next in volume 2 :-)

Thursday, 16 June 2022

[MPOV] On These Wicked Shores (The Azantian Trilogy #2)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.57/5
Published: May 1st, 2022
Author: Katherine Quinn
Genre: Fantasy, romance, fiction
A king chased by the demons of his past. A merciless god seeking redemption through bloodshed. And the woman whose very existence defies possibility.

It’s been three months since Margrete Wood defeated her depraved father and saved the mystical island of Azantian. But the monstrous creatures released that night have hidden themselves in the human realm, and Margrete and her king set sail to hunt them down.

When disaster strikes on the high seas, Margrete and the crew find themselves stranded on the shores of a new and dangerous island. It’s there that they come across an ancient coin, one that legend claims belonged to a powerful goddess. It signifies the first of three deadly trials that must be completed. If they fail these tests, they forfeit their lives to the very place that traps them.

As Margrete and Bash struggle to survive gruesome horrors lurking around every turn, a mighty god watches. He’s waited centuries for this moment, and in Margrete, he sees the queen he’s been searching for.

Once the third and final coin is found, Margrete and Bash will discover if their love can conquer all… even death itself.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. 

I'm so glad to be given the opportunity to read this second book of a trilogy by Katherine Quinn. I've enjoyed her prose and the way she weaves her fantasy which are quite enthralling at times! In this second one, it sure takes on a darker tone when Bash was separated from Margrete. It was definitely a test for both of them and the adventure they endured just to be together in the end was so unexpected. I just can't wait for the last in the trilogy, for the conclusion to close this chapter.

This time around, Bash and Margrete were separated for most part of the story and when they finally reunite towards the end, it was a heart wrenching moment that I honestly can't wait for the next book! Katherine sure knows how to tease and pull the readers along that when it ended at that, it sure was unexpected for me and I can't help but feel Margeret's pain!

No spoilers so I'll stop here LOL! If you are into fantasy romance, go ahead and give this trilogy a try!




Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Please take note!


With my recent decluttering effort, I have decided not to renew my domain name and to continue this blog with it's original ''free name''. So with effect from July 8th 2022, with a heavy heart, my domain name [www.sholee.net] will cease to operate. As such, if you would like to continue reading my blog, please redirect it to https://sholeesphere.blogspot.com

Thank you for your loyal support throughout my blogging journey! I will still continue to blog my reviews and thoughts here but I am more active on Instagram so if you want to see more stuff, you can follow me here:

Thursday, 12 May 2022

[MPOV] The Anniversary by Tara Sue Me (The Submissive Series)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.28/5
Published: March 28, 2022
Author: Tara Sue Me
Genre: romance, erotica, novella
He vowed to give her anything.
She’s ready to take him up on it.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling Submissive Series favorites Cole and Sasha return in a new novella that pushes them to decide how far they’re willing to go for love.

As their one year anniversary approaches, Cole and Sasha are more in love than ever. Cole believes he knows everything about his wife, which is why her request for their anniversary comes as a shock. Not only is it the last thing he ever expected her to want, he’s not certain he can make it happen.

Sasha stands firm, explaining it’s the one thing she needs to put the past behind her for good. But as she watches him struggle to balance his limits with her desires, she can’t help but wonder if she’s pushed him too far.
A big thank you to LibraryThing and the author for letting me read this awesome novella in return for my honest review. To be honest, this is my first time reading from this author and I am glad to have been given this opportunity.

Firstly, this is an erotica genre with some BDSM elements that most readers tend to shy away. I have read some in the past so I know what I am in for. As it is a romance novel, I've enjoyed the overall love and connection between Sasha and Cole. The only part I didn't like was the way they addressed each other. I just wasn't as comfortable with their terms of endearment LOL!

As this is a novella and part of a series (The Submissive Series), I am surprised that I can read it as a standalone and not get confused at all. The story was smoothly told with an easy pace, well written with the right dose of sex and not overly done. I have read some novellas which were packed with lots of sex that was uncalled for. This one truly has an elegant flair and knows it's limit, pun intended, LOL!

I would recommend this novella if you are curious about this genre. This will definitely not give you a heart attack LOL! In fact, I have enjoyed it much and felt it was a comfortable mushy read.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Crochet Class @ Fabric Fanatics

Before the Covid-19 pandemic started, I have occasional crochet classes for beginners, normally at cafes. And then lockdown came along so no teaching activity for the past 2 years or so. After a long hiatus, I have finally started my first crochet class this year! It was a coincidence as I was at the right place at the right time and I just went with the flow, not hoping for much since I do have my day job and this is just my back-up plan for when I retire. After a few chats, I had my first crochet class at Fabric Fanatics, Summit Mall.
Thank you, Ashley, for having faith in me and given me this opportunity. I sure hope your Pokeball turned out good.

If you want a refresher class, we can have it at a mutually agreed cafe :-)
Thank you, Edel, for having me guide you through your WIP. I sure hope you managed to finish your shawl and booties :-)

If you are interested to learn crochet or you require a refresher class, please send me an email to discuss. My fee starts from RM100 for a 4 hours session.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Community Book Sharing: Fumio Sasaki's Goodbye, Things

I have attended a few book discussions where it is the norm to read the book first and then attend the discussion. It is logical to read it first so that we can share our views or feedback of the book, which is the purpose of the book discussion. However, having to read it first may be daunting for me as I won't have the said book most of the time. Also having to finish reading it in time for the book discussion is also stressful and reading is supposed to be a relaxing hobby. As such, I have refrained from attending that many book discussions and also remained inactive in the book club I'm in. 
Recently, I came across this Instagram post by Revitalized Books about a Community Book Sharing event. This is something new for me as we can attend the session without having to read the said book first! The host will share some details and excerpts from the selected book based on a theme for that session. I was intrigued by the mechanism so when I saw the theme for April was ''minimalism'', I just had to attend it! The selected book was Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki. Coincidentally I have read that book lah but if I haven't then I can considered it as ''completed" for my Goodreads challenge at the end of the session! It sure beats reading the full book, right?! Also, the book sharing sessions here are for non-fiction titles which is a plus for me as I rarely reads non-fiction!
Overall, after attending this session last April 3rd, here are my 2 cents:

1) I saved time trying to read the book as there are too many books with too little time to read it all
2) I can rent the book from Revitalize Books (they are an online book rental shop) or borrow the book from the library if I really want to read it so I can save more trees
3) I can complete my book reading challenge faster!
4) I made new friends with like-minded interests
5) I can destress and enjoy the session with some light refreshments
6) This event is held every 2 months once so it is less taxing and more enjoyable this way

Here are the themes for the rest of the sessions:
5th June: Creativity
7th August: Rest / Sleep
2nd October: Happiness
4th December: Mental Health

The event is held at The Hatchery Place, a cozy in-home coworking and coliving space in USJ 11. It costs a mere RM20 for each session. If you are interested, you can follow Revitalized Books' Instagram for more deets:

Here are some photos of the session:
The host and owner of Revitalize Books, Ai Jou, explaining about the session





Group photo!

Yummy light refreshments!

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